Today marks the first day of National Suicide Prevention Month. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide was the 10th leading cause of death among all age groups in 2014. It ranks as the 2nd cause of death for ages 10-34, 4th for ages 35-54, and 8th for ages 55-64. Suicide doesn't discriminate. It does not matter how old someone is, what color they are, how much money they make, or where they are from.
The impact of suicide on people who have lost someone is devastating, to say the least. September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. It is a day to raise awareness about this important topic that so many people have been touched by. The International Association for Suicide Prevention's (IASP) theme is Connect, Communicate, and Care.
Sadly, my family and I have been affected by suicide, and have seen and felt the devastating effects it leaves on those who are left behind. My dad's half-sister took her life when she was 16 and my dad has never gotten over it. Six years ago, his half-brother also ended his life, when he was almost 80. This was painful, as he had just met for the first time a few years beforehand. My cousin killed himself when he was 40. He was an only child, and had a wife and child. There are no words to describe how their lives changed. I was first touched by it in high school, when a funny, popular, and seemingly happy guy I knew died at 16. To this day I still have moments when I am reminded of how many really good things I've experienced, but he did not.
My own teens have known of kids in school who have ended their own lives. It is hard to see them try to grasp that reality. There are far too many stories each year from their school and surrounding schools of this happening. It is so important to become educated on this subject, to recognize some warning signs, and to be able to talk to someone in crisis to get them the help they need.
If you'd like to participate in World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, light a candle in your window at 8 pm, become a part of the Cycle Around The Globe iniative, or sign up for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out Of The Darkness walks.
Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you or someone you know needs help. Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)